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A Kindergarten Lesson Plan on Greater Than and Less Than

written by: Wendy Finn • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 6/6/2012

There are so many different ways to get your students to understand the concept of greater than, less than. Kindergarten lesson plans of this nature, should involve a range of activities, for those that are more numerate learners and those that are more visual learners.

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    Objectives

    greaterthansign 

    Students will be able to:

    • Order numbers 1-10
    • Understand that certain numbers are greater than, or less than other numbers
    • Heavy items sink so weigh more than, items that float which weigh less than
    • Compare two images and identify which parts are greater than the other, or less than the other
    • Understand different terms for greater than, less than
    • Start using analytical thinking

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    Materials

    • Washing line, or length of string tied between two points in the classroom to look like a washing line
    • Pegs
    • Numbers 1-10 written separately on large pieces of paper
    • Mixing bowls
    • Selection of small items, some of which will float in water, and others which will sink
    • Card with a picture of an animal on each one. Some cards with pictures of animals and other pertinent information, such as weight, height, etc
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    Introducing The Greater Than Less Than Lesson

    numbers Set up the washing line in the classroom, and get the whole class to call out counting up to 10. Get them to do it again, but this time more slowly, and peg your numbers onto the washing line, in order, as they do so.

    Now take the numbers off the washing line and hand out a number to 10 members of your class - pair or group them up if you wish. Now get the children to order these numbers on the washing line themselves.

    As a class, sit back and look at the numbers. Explain that the numbers towards the right, are greater than the numbers to the left. Give lots of examples, until the class start to shout out the answers for you. Start with greater than examples, For example, 10 is greater than 1, 8 is greater than 2. Then move on to less than examples 1 is less than 10, 5 is less than 6, etc.

    Now the children understand more about the concept of greater than less than, the kindergarten lesson plan can move on to more practical examples.

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    Sinking & Floating - Interactive Science Activity

    pininwater For the less numerate learners in your class, a practical and visual example where they are free to do their own science experiments, is a great way to make sure they understand the concept of greater than, less than.

    In pairs or groups, give out mixing bowls and fill them with water - about 3/4 of the way is perfect. Put a range of items on the table for them to choose from to put into the water, to see which items sink and which items float.

    For the purposes of this activity, make sure you choose items which are obviously heavier or lighter than others, and which will definitely prove that heavy items sink and lighter items float. Of course, this is not always true as pasta is a light item but will sink, and a tangerine is a heavy item, but due to its density and water content will actually float. It's a good idea to do some experiments of your own before deciding on the items to use - you may be surprised at items that sink and those that float!

    Hand out worksheets with basic statements on, that the children can then fill the gaps in as they are doing their experiments. For example:

    • The spoon weighed _________________ than the plastic lid.
    • The drinking straw weighed ______________ than the coin.

    Make sure there is a good variation of "more" or "less" statements, and have the words "more" (or greater, whichever you prefer), and "less" displayed clearly in the room, for the children to copy and be on hand to help them should they need it.

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    Use Different Terms for Greater Than, Less Than

    It is a good idea at this stage to start using different terms for "greater than, less than," if you haven't done so already with the floating and sinking activity.

    Using terms such as "more than, less than," in lesson plans for kindergarten students, may mean the concept starts to "click" with some children, by using different words they are more familiar with. Other terms to start including are:

    • Taller than, shorter than
    • Bigger than, smaller than
    • Heavier than, lighter than
    • Higher than, lower than
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    Play Your Animal Cards Right - Visual, Numerical and Analytical Thinking Activity

    trex Make sure your animal picture cards are a good mix of different sized animals, and start with some obvious examples to compare, such as a mouse and an elephant. Hold up one such example and ask the class (either split into 2 teams, or ask for individual volunteers for each question), if they think the next card will have an animal that is bigger than, or smaller than the animal on the card. The idea is that the children will analyze the picture of say, a mouse, and will identify that it is small, so the next card is likely to have an animal that is bigger than a mouse.

    Continue in this way, now holding up your second card, and asking the same question - do they think the next animal will be greater in size than this animal, or smaller in size. You can tack each picture to the wall as you make your way around the classroom, and then go back over the pictures to summarize, when the game is complete.

    Try this game again, later in the week or the week after, and this time incorporate some numerical facts into the pictures, such as how much an animal weighs, how big their ears are, how tall they are, how fast they can run etc. So you can also use visual reasoning, numerical reasoning, and analytical thinking all into one game.

    You could also theme your game, depending on what your classroom theme of the moment is. So if you are studying dinosaurs, you could easily use dinosaur pictures on your cards, or if your study theme is Australia, use native Australian animals on your cards.

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    Assessment & Further Activities

    Using the worksheets to assess the floating and sinking activity will show you if your students grasped the basic concept of more than less than, as well as seeing how their fine motor skills are developing in their hand writing, or if they weren't able to copy the words down correctly.

    The cards activity provides an opportunity to analyze the students' analytical thinking, as well as their overall comprehension of the more than less than concept.

    From a social point of view, if you allowed your students to volunteer to answer the questions, which ones were keen to speak up in class and which were quiet - this is likely to be down to shyness, but you could examine further to see if this is due to not understanding the more than less than lesson. Plan to re-evaluate your kindergarten students the following week, to see what they have remembered by going over some of these activities again.

    You may also wish to incorporate a different activity into your, more than less than, lesson plans for kindergarten students, such as getting them to lie down on a large piece of construction paper in different poses, and get the other students to draw around them. You could then arrange these silhouettes on the wall, and see who is taller than, shorter than.

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    References

    Play Your Cards Right - http://www.ukgameshows.com/ukgs/Play_Your_Cards_Right

    Images:

    Person Outline - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FatigueGrotesque.gif

    Greater than sign - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OCR-A_char_Greater-Than_Sign.svg/ John Sauter

    Numbers - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Numbers.svg?uselang=en-gb/ Ainlina

    T Rex - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saurier2.jpg/ Peng

    Pin in Water - theilr - Flickr